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The 2014 Numbers That Will Shape Hub Real Estate in 2015

Here's the latest installment of Bates By the Numbers, a weekly feature by Boston real estate agent David Bates that drills down into the Hub's housing market to uncover those trends and people you would not otherwise notice. Follow him on Twitter and check out his ebook, Context: Nine Key Condo Markets, 2.0.



$37,500,000. The highest condo sale in the Greater Boston MLS had been $13.2 million, so when Millennium Tower put a $37.5 million penthouse on the market in October, it raised everyone's expectations about the prices people would pay to live in Boston in the future.

$500,000. Through Nov. 30, many of the Hub's most popular condo markets had only only about half as many sub-$500K condo sales as they had in the same time period in 2010. These markets included Brookline (-41 percent), Back Bay (-44 percent), the South End (-48 percent), and Cambridge (-56 percent). Many believe that if the Hub is going to prevent its young, talented workforce from seeking careers in other less expensive locales, it will be necessary to create more housing they can afford.

$100K. In 2014, more than 100 Hub condo buyers decided they needed to offer at least $100,000 more than the list price to get the condo they wanted. How many extreme over-ask sales will there be in 2015? Was it a fad or a trend? We'll find out soon.

53,000. In October, Mayor Marty Walsh announced that he wanted 53,000 more housing units constructed in Boston by 2030. To hit this goal, a lot of movers and shakers are going to have to start moving and shaking; and a lot of projects are going to have to get a green light.

11,000. In February, the Masters of the Greater Boston Rental Universe expressed diverse opinions on how the 11,000 apartments that were in development in the Hub at the time would be received. Since then, even more projects have been approved. Are we looking at a luxury glutpocalypse in 2015. Stay tuned!

$2,000. When developers got wind that a Seaport condo project was putting condos under agreement for $2,000 a square foot, a few decided to change their projects from high-end apartments to luxury condominium developments.

6. This is the number of Hub locations completely transforming before your very eyes. They include the South End's Northeast, North Cambridge around Alewife, Southie's D Street corridor, Brighton at Everett Street and the Mass. Pike, the area around North Station and all of Somerville.

1. In March, I noted that Boston had just over a month's supply of condos, an OMG absorption rate. I also pointed out that some neighborhoods had less than a month of inventory. In fact, a few Hub markets had somehow managed to sell more listings than they took, a WTF absorption rate. Comparing the amount of listings taken to the amount of sales transacted in the first 11 months in most major Hub condo markets, it looks like 2014 was an OMG absorption rate: Boston (1.28 months), Cambridge (1.25 months) and Brookline (1.21 months)

66 percent. Price appreciation is provoking buyers in modest condo price ranges to purchase in different neighborhoods. In the first 11 months of 2011, Dorchester sold 200 condominiums under $500K. But in the first 11 months this year, 332 condos sold in this key Hub neighborhood, a 66 percent increase. Condo sales in Roslindale grew 75 percent during the same time period; and condo sales in Eastie doubled. Look for this trend to continue in 2015.

4 percent. According to Freddie Mac, this was the average monthly commitment rate and points on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages in November. A tad up compared to 2012, but still stunningly low compared with mortgage rates before 2011. If this number increases significantly in 2015, I'm predicting the number of Hub condo bidding wars and sales will go down.
· Our Bates By the Numbers archive [Curbed Boston]

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